Three Things to Consider Before Buying a Food Dehydrator

Dehydrated meats, vegetables, and fruit is delicious, if you have a machine that can prepare it well.

Food dehydrator
A good food dehydrator allows you to make high-end treats, like jerky, for a fraction of the retail cost.Magic Mill

Jerky may be delicious, but it sure isn’t cheap. You might have to take out a second mortgage before your next camping trip just to buy a commercially produced bag. Not only that, you never really know what’s in store-bought jerky. The type of preservatives they use (as well as how much sugar) is totally out of your control. That’s why making your own jerky at home is so magical. It lets you save money, make delicious snacks, and control every ingredient in the process. The same goes for dried fruit, veggies, or even fruit rolls. There are a lot of differences in at-home dehydrators, though. We’ll help you sort them out.

Construction

COSORI Premium Food Dehydrator Machine
This classy-looking dehydrator features stainless steel trays and a full glass front, as well as adjustable temperatures, a shut-off timer, and a circulating fan.COSORI

Sure, you want a dehydrator built with nice materials so it looks good, but even more important is how the food tastes when it comes out and how healthy it will be. High-end dehydrators tend to use stainless steel trays. They don’t impart any flavor (or chemicals) on your food, and they’re much easier to clean.

Heat Control

Multi Tier Food Dehydrator Machine
Compact and simple, this dehydrator still packs in a dial to precisely control the temperature, and it includes five plastic trays.NutriChef

Many low-end food dehydrators don’t have any switches or dials. You just plug one in, and it heats up. While the simplicity is nice, it can lead to over-cooked food. Some foods really need to be dried low and slow, while others should be dried hot and fast. An adjustable temperature knob can make a big difference in how your food turns out.

Heat Distribution

Magic Mill Commercial Food Dehydrator Machine
The powerful, rear-mounted van ensures equal heat distribution without having to shuffle trays, and it’s whisper quiet, so it won’t keep you awake during long drives.Magic Mill

You wouldn’t think something as simple as a fan would make a big difference, but it really does! Without one you’ll have to shuffle trays in an attempt to keep your food from drying unevenly. It’s a huge pain, which a dehydrator with a fan will save you from.

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